You tick my box: How Singapore politicians found love

PHOTO: Instagram/Lawrence Wong, ST File, Instagram/Kshanmugam_

The love story of Lee Kuan Yew and his wife, Kwa Geok Choo is a beautiful one that holds valuable lessons for many of us, and their marriage of 63 years was steadfast until the very end. 

Inspired, we dug deeper into the lives of our politicians to find out if their relationship backstories are just as touching, and to uncover the men and women behind these successful individuals.

Lee Hsien Loong (PAP) 

Wife: Ho Ching

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was married to his first wife, Wong Ming Yang in 1978. Together they had a daughter Li Xiuqi and a son Li Yipeng. Wong died of a heart attack three weeks after giving birth to their son in October 1982.

PM Lee subsequently met Ho Ching when she started her career at the Ministry of Defence. The couple got married in December 1985 and have two sons together, Hongyi and Haoyi.

A photo to celebrate Valentine’s Day. :) A belated Happy Valentine’s Day to all at home! (MCI Photo by Kenji Soon)

Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Monday, February 15, 2016

While Ho Ching isn't involved in politics, she is a leader in her own right, holding the position of chief executive officer at Temasek Holdings. Ho Ching also ranked 23rd on Forbes' Most Powerful Women list in 2019.

The power couple have shared sweet photos of each other on their social media accounts, like this wefie taken during their trip to Korea in 2015.

Gyeongju reflections in glass

Posted by HO Ching on Thursday, December 17, 2015
 

Chiam See Tong (SPP)

Wife: Lina Chiam

On 8 June, 1975, our longest-serving opposition politician Chiam See Tong married Lina Chiam. Did you know that the...

Posted by Epigram Books on Friday, November 28, 2014

Chiam See Tong met his wife Lina Loh, better known in the political area as Lina Chiam, when he was studying law in London in 1974.

It was at a dance and social event where he met Loh, who was a trainee nurse at a London hospital at that time. They got married a year later and Chiam entered politics with her support.

Loh has always been a familiar face in the political scene, organising rallies and appearing at elections alongside Chiam. She eventually became a politician and contested in Potong Pasir Single Member Constituency (SMC) in the 2011 General Election in place of her husband.

Both Chiams will not be contesting this GE, but Chiam remains a party member while his wife is part of SPP's central executive committee.

Low Thia Khiang (WP)

Wife: Han Mui Keow

PHOTO: Sunday Times

Low Thia Khiang shared that he used to be a problem student in Chung Cheng High School and was almost retained in Secondary 2.

"Many teachers shook their heads when they saw me. They thought I was a hopeless case. Only my biology teacher, Mr Liao Rong Sheng, didn’t think so," said Low.

It was only during his fifth year in school that things took a turn for a better when he met his classmate Han Mui Keow, who became his wife nine years later in 1982.

Chee Soon Juan (SDP)

Wife: Huang Chih-Mei

The Man I Married - Chee Soon Juan http://www.drhuangchihmei.com/

Posted by Chee Soon Juan 徐顺全 on Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Leader of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) Chee Soon Juan met his wife, Huang Chih-Mei, while they were both doing their graduate studies at the University of Georgia in the US.

Huang recounted on her personal blog how Chee encouraged her to accept the scholarship and pursue her doctorate. "You've got to have dreams in your life," was what Chee told her.

Together, the couple has two daughters and a son. The family was seen supporting Chee during SDP's rallies in the 2015 GE

Lawrence Wong (PAP)

A quick scroll through Lawrence Wong's Facebook will only reveal posts about his work. As for his personal life, it's been kept very private and little has been said about his relationships.

But in a 2013 interview with The Straits Times, he candidly revealed that he got married at 28 but divorced "amicably" after three years due to "incompatibility". 

Although he still doesn't reveal much about his personal life now, we've gathered that he has remarried. Wong shared during a recent press conference that his wife helped cut his hair during Phase 1 of Singapore's reopening.

Sylvia Lim (WP)

Boyfriend: Quah Kim Song

Chairperson of Workers' Party (WP) Sylvia Lim met her boyfriend Quah Kim Song, who is a former football star, at a WP variety show in 2013. Sparks flew when Quah swept her off her feet while dancing. 

The two have since been dating, and it seems that marriage is not on the cards when Lim was asked in 2015 about possible nuptials. 

"People do ask us often when we're getting married. But we have discussed this and he's already a grandfather and we're enjoying our relationship as it is now, so we have no plans to get married at this point. We do not know if things will change but, at the moment, we're quite happy with the way things are," said Lim.

In order for the couple to meet regularly in the last election in 2015, Quah was her driver ferrying her to rally sites and different places. While there won't be physical rallies this year, we wonder if he'll be driving her to and from her walkabouts.

Darryl David (PAP)

Wife: Christina Sim

PHOTO: Straits Times/Neo Xiaobin

MP of Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency (GRC), Darryl David, has been married to lawyer Christina Sim since 2006. Together, they have two children.

In an interview with a magazine by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports, David shared that he met his wife through a mutual friend and the pair clicked. 

"I was very attracted to Christina's elegant, classic look and her deep intellect," said Darryl.

Entertainment fans may remember that David was previously married to radio and TV personality, Georgina Chang.

K. Shanmugam (PAP)

Wife: Seetha Shanmugam

PHOTO: The Straits Times file 

K. Shanmugam is currently married to clinical psychologist Seetha Shanmugam. Addressing an online rumour, Shanmugam said his wife is a Berkeley-educated, Chicago-trained clinical psychologist and "not a foreign talent". 

Shanmugam was previously married to Jothie Rajah, daughter of Senior Counsel and Judicial Commissioner of the Supreme Court of Singapore Kasinather Saunthararajah (K.S. Rajah).

His marriage to Jothie Rajah failed and they divorced after 15 years due to "mutual incompatibility". 

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melissagoh@asiaone.com